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Sandra Passchier

Professor, Earth and Environmental Studies

Center for Environmental & Life Sciences 324
MS, University of Amsterdam
PhD, Ohio State University
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GRADUATE ASSISTANTSHIP AVAILABLE - see details under Research Projects below.

Dr. Passchier is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Studies at Montclair State University. She has studied sedimentary records of polar ice sheet dynamics since 1992 in collaborative research efforts involving expeditions to the Arctic and the Antarctic, of which six as a science team member in international scientific drilling programs (CRP, ANDRILL and IODP). Dr. Passchier has advised and hosted Ph.D. student and post-doctoral fellows from the United States, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands within the framework of ANDRILL and IODP post-cruise research. Her teaching assignments include Stratigraphy, Advanced Marine Geology, Glacial Deposits and a variety of introductory courses in Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Selected Recent Publications (see CV for full publication list, *MSU graduate thesis advisees, **undergraduate independent study advisees):

Passchier, S., *Ciarletta, D., **Henao, V, **Sekkas, V., 2018. Sedimentary processes and facies on a high-latitude passive continental margin, Wilkes Land, East Antarctica. Geological Society of London, Special Publication, v. 475, doi:10.1144/SP475.3

Sangiorgi, F., Bijl, P., Passchier, S., Salzmann, U., Schouten, S., McKay, R., Cody, R., Pross, J., van de Flierdt, T., Bohaty, S., Levy, R., Williams, T., Escutia, C., and Brinkhuis, H., 2018. A warm Southern Ocean and retreated Wilkes Land ice sheet (East Antarctica) during the mid-Miocene. Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02609-7.

Passchier, S., *Ciarletta, D., **Miriagos, T., Bijl, P., Bohaty, S., 2017. An Antarctic stratigraphic record of step-wise ice growth through the Eocene-Oligocene Transition. Geological Society of America Bulletin, Vol. 129, doi: 10.1130/B31482.1.

*Hansen, M.A. and Passchier, S., 2016. Oceanic circulation changes during early Pliocene marine ice-sheet instability in Wilkes Land, East Antarctica. Geo-Mar Lett., doi:10.1007/s00367-016-0489-8

*Hansen, M. A., Passchier, S. Khim, B.-K., Song, B., and Williams, T., 2015. Threshold behavior of a marine-based sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in response to early Pliocene ocean warming, Paleoceanography, 30, doi:10.1002/2014PA002704.

**Orejola, N., Passchier, S., and IODP Expedition 318 Scientists, 2014. Sedimentology of lower Pliocene to Upper Pleistocene diamictons from IODP Site U1358, Wilkes Land margin, and implications for East Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics. Antarctic Science, doi:10.1017/S0954102013000527.

Passchier, S., Bohaty, S.M., Jiménez-Espejo, F., Pross, J., Röhl, U., van de Flierdt, T., Escutia, C., Brinkhuis, H., 2013. Early Eocene – to – middle Miocene cooling and aridification of East Antarctica. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 14 (5), 1399-1410, doi:10.1002/ggge.20106. (Research Highlight in Nature Geoscience, June 2013).

Stocchi, P., Escutia, C., Houben, A.J.P., Vermeersen, B.L.A., Bijl, P.K., Brinkhuis, H., DeConto, R.M., Galeotti, S., Passchier, S., Pollard, D., and IODP Expedition 318 scientists, 2013. Relative sea level rise around East Antarctica during Oligocene glaciation. Nature Geoscience, online April 21, doi:10.1038/ngeo1783.

Houben, A.J.P., Bijl, P.K., Pross, J., Bohaty, S.M., Passchier, S., Stickley, C.E., Röhl, U., Sugisaki, S., Tauxe, T., van de Flierdt, T., Olney, M., Sangiorgi, F., Sluijs, A., Escutia, C., Brinkhuis, H., and the Expedition 318 Scientists, 2013. Reorganization of Southern Ocean plankton ecosystem at the onset of Antarctic glaciation. Science, 340, no. 6130, p. 341-344, doi: 10.1126/science.1223646


Sedimentary Geology; Ocean Drilling; Paleoclimatology; Continental Margins; Polar Science; Glacial Processes; Seafloor Processes. I run the Sedimentology Laboratory, now located in CELS 305G and 321A.



Research Projects

Graduate Assistantship - Timing and Spatial Distribution of Antarctic Ice Sheet Growth and Sea-ice Formation across the Eocene-Oligocene Transition

The melt of land based ice is raising global sea levels with at present only minor contributions from polar ice sheets. However, the future role of polar ice sheets in climate change is one of the most critical uncertainties in predictions of sea level rise around the globe. The respective roles of oceanic and atmospheric greenhouse forcing on ice sheets are poorly addressed with recent measurements of polar climatology, because of the extreme rise in greenhouse forcing the earth is experiencing at this time. Data on the evolution of the West Antarctic ice sheet is particularly sparse. To address the data gap, we will reconstruct the timing and spatial distribution of Antarctic ice growth through the last greenhouse to icehouse climate transition around 37 to 33 Ma. We will collect sedimentological and geochemical data on core samples from a high-latitude paleoarchive to trace the shutdown of the chemical weathering system, the onset of glacial erosion, ice rafting, and sea ice development, as East and West Antarctic ice sheets coalesced in the Weddell Sea sector. Our findings will lead to profound increases in the understanding of the role of greenhouse forcing in ice sheet development and its effect on the global climate system.

The graduate assistant is expected to participate in sampling at the IODP Gulf Coast Repository in College Station, TX, and carry out lab analyses on detrital sediments at Montclair State University with a small proportion of the work to be carried out at nearby Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University. We are seeking prospective graduate students with a background in sedimentology, glacial geology, marine geology or geochemistry with secondary interests in climate policy, environmental law, science communication or education. The graduate assistant is expected to be enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Environmental management – as part of the Earth Systems and Climate Change research cluster, with faculty expertise in sedimentology, marine geology, rock magnetism, isotope geochemistry, paleoclimatology, climate and coastal modeling. Opportunities exist for involvement with upcoming Antarctic expeditions.

Application deadline for the Ph.D. program: Oct. 15, 2018
For more information, please contact me, see details above.

Completed: The Stratigraphic Expression of the Onset of Glaciation in Eocene-Oligocene Successions on the Antarctic Continental Margin

This project investigated glacial advance and retreat of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet through the Eocene-Oligocene transition, a major episode of ice growth. In Prydz Bay, East Antarctica, a 130-170 m thick Eocene-Oligocene transition interval of glaciomarine sediments was cored in drillholes of the Ocean Drilling Program at Sites 739, 742 and 1166. Recent drilling on the Wilkes Land margin of East Antarctica recovered earliest Oligocene sediments overlying a major regional unconformity in two drillholes. We are also working on Site 696 in the Weddell Sea. Cores from the six drillholes are re-examined through detailed core description, detailed laser particle size and bulk major element geochemistry via ICP-AES and ICP-MS. Phases of major ice growth are recognized as marker beds of physically eroded sediment and are correlated to isotopic records documenting Antarctic ice growth offshore in the Southern Ocean. Funded by the National Science Foundation.

Completed: Early Pliocene Record Of Antarctic Ice Rafting And Paleoenvironmental Conditions, Antarctica

The Pliocene was the last epoch wherein the atmospheric pCO2 was similar to today's partial pressure and global surface temperatures were higher than the modern with a larger than average degree of warming occurring at high latitudes. This project investigates early Pliocene East Antarctic ice dynamics and paleoenvironmental conditions from variations in the production of ice-rafted debris and major element geochemistry of sediment cores collected during IODP Expeditions.